Art Basel's Open Bar Sculpture By Erwin Wurm Wants To Get You Drunk

Art Basel Miami Beach and the surrounding bacchanal kicks off this week, and on the tenth anniversary of the festivities we've realized the entire week comes down to two factors: expensive artwork and free booze. So it's about time that an artist fully combines the two into one work. Austrian artist Erwin Wurm will debut new works at the Bass museum this week that double as open bars.

As part of his solo show, "Beauty Business" at the Bass Museum of Art on Miami Beach, Wurm will debut his "Drinking Sculptures" for the first time in America. As the name implies, the pieces invite drinking.

The pieces are made to look like reconstructed pieces of vintage furniture, but when opened they'll be filled full with bottles of liquor. The bottles will be replaced as the night goes on. It's sort of reminiscent of Felix Gonzalez-Torres's candy piles, but, you know, with booze.

Though, ARTINFO reports there may be a catch when they come to Miami Beach:

Museum guards will act as bartenders. It's unclear at this point whether visitors will be able to drink freely from the sculptures, or whether the Bass will hire performers to get drunk in the galleries instead. According to museum officials, it's all up to Wurm.
Dear Bass museum, we are fully available to act as "performers" if you decided to go the obviously less democratic way. Though the museum's website does promise, "The viewer can open drawers and interact with the piece."

When the sculpture premiered Antwerp's Middleheimmuseum back in May, some viewers got so out of control that some of the works were damaged, and portions of the exhibit had to be closed off. Wurm wasn't bothered.

"It came with this expectation and a certain habit and change of personalities with alcohol," he told ARTINFO. "I like this idea very much."

After the stop in Miami Beach, the works will travel to Dallas, and Wurm says, "I believe Texans might be able to hold their liquor a little better [than Floridians]."

The exhibit opens on December 1st and runs through March 4th.

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Kyle Munzenrieder